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UK’s first gallery and bookshop dedicated to the wild opens in Rhayader

James Roberts at work in his studio on his latest painting

THE FIRST UK gallery and bookshop dedicated to nature and wild spaces has opened in the Mid Wales market town of Rhayader, which promotes itself as the Outdoors Capital of Wales.

River Wood, a new studio gallery of art and books for the wild, has set up home in a beautiful 16th century listed building in the Upper Wye Valley town, near to the famous dams and reservoirs of the Elan valley.

The new business is the creation of artist and writer, James Roberts. “Rhayader, surrounded by some of the wildest landscapes in Britain, is the perfect setting for this venue,” he explained.

“The studio gallery and bookshop exist to inspire our connection with nature and wild places. It is a haven at one of the busiest crossroads in Wales. Inside you’ll hear birdsong from around the world and you’ll get a chance to explore one of the oldest shops in the country.”

Available to purchase at River Wood are James’ original paintings, limited edition prints and cards of wild animals, including kites, curlews and otters.

The gallery also offers a wide range of inspirational nature books for all ages, which includes James’ book Two Lights (£16.99, September Publishing), recently longlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje prize.

For people wanting to paint and write about nature, James will be running creative workshops throughout the year. These will take place both at the gallery and out in the local woodland and river setting. Anyone interested in joining a workshop is asked to email James at [email protected] .

An artist, writer and lover of wild things, James has been an editor, art director, designer, animator, dramatist and all-round creative. He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts. 

His art has featured in galleries, on book and magazine covers and on stage sets. His writing has been published in many literary journals and magazines as well as publications like National Geographic and The Scotsman.

The bookshop stocks a small but comprehensive selection of new and second hand titles by well known writers, illustrators, photographers and artists.

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River Wood is located at The Old Swan, West Street, Rhayader, LD6 5AB – the yellow building near the crossroads – and is open Thursdays to Saturdays, 11-4pm, and Sundays 11-3pm.

Private studio visits are available by appointment. For more information visit www.riverwood.studio .

River Wood is a member of MWT Cymru (Mid Wales Tourism), an independent organisation representing around 600 tourism and hospitality businesses across Powys, Ceredigion and Southern Meirionnydd.

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